That evening a cold twilight came down out of the Blue Mountains, and Badgaladriel welcomed us all to our first gathering of the year. On that night we pondered “Riddles in the Dark.” We lingered long on one scene, wondering whether the original could be termed “secular” and whether a later version might be termed “religious.”
Some said the story marked a lonely dark descent. A frightful creature wept. Wasn’t it sad? Why didn’t we feel any pity? So was it really mercy that ruled our fate? Or was it pitiless theft? A few witnessed a leap of faith. And near the end of the epic, everyone noticed how the sad creature would become very old and weary before entering another cave.
“A fine meeting it was,” said one mariner. Another added, “And a very good discussion it was!” We spoke our hearts and we listened. In our city beside a long-vanished sea, we sat communing as evening unfolded under ancient chilly stars.
And that night was the anniversary of the birth of The Professor. So when the meeting ended we adjourned to a nearby tavern. There we stood to toast his 121st birthday. The Professor!